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  • High Life

    High Life

    ★★★½

    What Denis so carefully observes in High Life is how we tend to partition, define, and suppress carnal desire. A garden variety of flora aboard the ship grow, fertilize, and reproduce seamlessly without any of the human strife we witness among the crew attempting to do the same. Fundamentally, the sexual act is procreative and stimulating; equal parts practical and pleasurable; necessary to create life, and also for sustaining it. There is no sex aboard the ship. The reproductive nature…

  • Native Son

    Native Son

    ★★½

    Even in rejiggering certain aspects of Wright’s narrative, Johnson ultimately upholds the essential thematic truth at the center of the fable: Bigger Thomas’ inability to break the mold cast upon him at birth because of his race. Johnson doesn’t shy away from Wright’s determinism, even as Big spends much of the story affirming his prized individuality. We enter his headspace with an ongoing, if erratic and occasionally rambling, voice-over narrative monologue delivered in Sanders’ gruff, deep delivery, and Johnson emphasizes…

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  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Eyes Wide Shut

    ★★★★½

    Strange that this was met with a mixed critical reception when it’s a straight-up masterpiece. Unquenched subconscious desire spills into reality, exposing the propensity for human frailty and eventually, sympathy.

  • Sorry to Bother You

    Sorry to Bother You

    ★★½

    Sorry to Bother You puts the cart before the horse, taking aim at a whole lot and only hitting its mark once or twice. The journey’s fun and the jokes mostly land, but there isn’t much to be gleaned from a film that wants to be about the evils of capitalism, code-switching, protest culture, systemic racial oppression, cultural appropriation, new slavery, viral media, etc. First-timer Boots Riley introduces us this hodgepodge of ideas by telling the story of low-level telemarketer…